My head nearly exploded last week, and it wasn’t due to the sinus infection that I am currently fighting. I was in two different districts during the 2nd week of school where they had already shut down instruction to give a release TAKS to every student, to see where they are. At these struggling, high poverty districts there is absolutely no valid information that will come from this test. On day seven of instruction, the students have regressed a little from the results that the actual TAKS reported in May. That is to be expected. And that is all you really need to know. You start teaching at full speed on day one of instruction, assess (not benchmark) at short-term intervals and adjust on the fly. That is the formula for academic growth and success. When asked why they were administering the release test, staff in both districts told me that their state monitor suggested it. These people could not be more wrong with their advice. Benchmarking this early in the year is the instructional equivalent of bleeding the patient to release the bad blood. It is simply superstition masquerading as professional practice. Just because the person the state send to you has good intentions (they do) doesn’t mean that they have any idea what they are doing (many don’t). We have to be critical consumers of advice and information. If someone advises you to do something that does not quite make sense, ask some questions and challenge some convictions. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn… Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! Follow Sean Cain and LYS on Come visit us at the LYS Booth at the TASA/TASB Fall Conference